With the release of the first real trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, everyone’s talking about the films. With that in mind, we thought it might be fun to dig up some lesser-known facts about the previous six films, just to give you something to wow your friends with. These eight Star Wars facts definitely qualify.
Know an obscure Star Wars fact of your own? Tell us what it is in the comments!
Harrison Ford become Han Solo mostly by accident
There were a number of big name actors considered for the role of the iconic smuggler, including Burt Reynolds, Christopher Walken, Al Pacino, and Jack Nicholson, among others. Harrison Ford wasn’t even on the list – he was brought in to feed lines to the auditioning actors because he had recently worked with Lucas on American Graffiti. Lucas like Ford’s delivery with the feed lines so much that Ford ended up getting the part.
Stanley Kubrick caused delays in the filming of The Empire Strikes Back
The Empire Strikes Back was at least partially filmed on sets at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, England. In February of 1979, a massive fire destroyed an entire soundstage where another film, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, was being filmed. Kubrick moved into some of the studio space that Lucas was supposed to use for filming, and Kubrick’s perfectionism (and resulting delays) led to numerous delays for The Empire Strikes Back.
There isn’t a single official Clone Trooper costume from Attack of the Clones
For Star Wars collectors, the ultimate items are those used in the films themselves. You’ll occasionally see a prop or a costume that’s identified as having been used in filming. But if you happen to see a Clone Trooper costume from Attack of the Clones, you can confidently ignore it, as it’s a fake. How can you be so sure? It’s simple: Every single Clone Trooper in the film was created using CGI. There were no costumes ever created.
Steven Spielberg made more off Star Wars than he did Close Encounters of the Third Kind
During the shooting of Star Wars, George Lucas went to visit his friend Steven Spielberg on the set of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Lucas was reportedly depressed at how post-production on Star Wars was going, and he told Spielberg that Close Encounters would be a much more successful film. Lucas went so far as to propose a trade, offering Spielberg 2.5 percent of Star Wars in exchange for 2.5 percent of Close Encounters. While Spielberg’s film went on to make over $300 million, the resulting payout from his percentage of Star Wars is still making him money today.
The original Millennium Falcon was not the ship we all recognize
The Millennium Falcon may be the most iconic spaceship ever to appear in a movie, but it was initially intended to look a lot different. The first model, which was a long, cylinder-shaped design, was deemed to look too much like the spaceship in the 1970s British TV show Space: 1999. Lucas decided to go with something completely different, which ended up being the ship we all recognize today. The original design was used in Star Wars, however. It was Leia’s Rebel Blockade Runner seen at the beginning of the film.
George Lucas initially was self-funding The Empire Strikes Back
Unhappy with the dictates the studio was putting forth for The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas decided fund the second movie himself. This would give him total creative control, while still keeping 20th Century Fox on hand for distribution. But when production costs reached $10 million above the estimates, the bank offering the loan backed out, forcing Lucas to to go to 20th Century Fox for help. The deal that they offered saved the film, but Lucas disliked it so much that he went to Paramount Studios for his next project – a little movie called Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Yoda was originally planned to be played by a monkey
The Jedi Master Yoda was one of the most interesting characters in the series. With his stilted manner of speech and thorough command of the Force, the pint-sized character was far more intimidating than you might expect. That was borne out in Attack of the Clones, when he takes on Count Dooku in a lightsaber duel. But the character was almost radically different, as George Lucas originally planned to have him played by a monkey wearing a mask and carrying a cane. On the advice of crew members who said it wouldn’t work, Lucas brought in Jim Henson to create the Yoda we all know and love. Thanks, whoever you are.
Return of the Jedi originally had a much darker ending
During one of the many story sessions for Return of the Jedi, Lucas apparently pitched an ending much darker than anything in the series. After Vader sacrificed himself to take out the Emperor, Luke would help Vader remove his helmet. But instead of playing out as it does now, Luke would have donned the famous helmet himself, and said “Now I am Vader. Now I will go and kill the [Rebel] fleet and I will rule the universe.” Even though screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan was in favor the idea, Lucas decided to not go that dark, and we ended up with the Ewok party ending instead.